My Ex-Husband Moved Back in And I Feel Helpless

Dear Troubleshooter:

I am a woman in my 60s. Two years ago, my husband left me, and we divorced after 30 years of marriage.

This spring, he moved back in to our house and we have lived together ever since.

The reason for the divorce was that he wanted to be free. I was shocked at the time, but my lawyer advised me that I could claim consolation payment from him, so I reluctantly agreed to divorce. I continued to live in the house, of which my ex-husband has ownership, while he went back to his parents’ home.

Last year, he contacted me saying he wanted us to get back together. I agreed because I still had feelings for him. However, sometime later he completely ended things saying that he wanted more time to think about it.

Then, this spring, he contacted me to say that he had decided to move back in, and this time he did. According to him, he was not comfortable living in his parents’ house. I was hoping that he would remarry me, but he shot me down and said that he has no intention of doing so. I have been going along with whatever he says.

When I ask my elder sister for advice, she says, “Just think of him as a roommate.” I spend my days feeling helpless.

— F, Miyazaki Prefecture

Dear Ms. F:

You truly go along with whatever your ex-husband says. I assume your ex-husband was at fault in some way because he paid you divorce consolation money. But it is astonishing that he returned to his parents’ house while saying he wanted to be free. Was he just wanting to be pampered by his parents?

I do not know the reason, but why do you have to put yourself down so low for such a selfish ex-husband? For as long as you hold out hope of getting back together with him, he will always be at an advantage and play with your feelings.

Your financial situation is also puzzling. What happened to the division of property? Why do you continue to live in the house your ex-husband owns? Why was the ownership of the house not transferred to you?

While “roommate” may be the apt term for your situation, in actuality, you are like a parasite in your ex-husband’s house. Isn’t it humiliating? There is no way you can move on when you continue to feel helpless.

You should use the rest of your precious time for yourself. Life still goes on. Find a job and work outside the home. Do some volunteer work for the sake of the society. The best way to get revenge on your ex-husband is to show him you are enjoying life. Cut off your feelings for him and dump him.

— Hazuki Saisho, writer